author: Mercedes Lackey
published: 1 October 2002
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Mercedes Lackey's triumphant return to the best-selling world of Valdemar, Take a Thief reveals the untold story of Skif--a popular character from Lackey's first published novel, Arrows of the Queen.Skif was an orphan who would have died from malnutrition and exposure if he had never met Deke the pickpocket. By the time he was twelve, Skif was an accomplished cat burglar. But it wasn't until he decided to steal a finely tacked-out white horse, which was, oddly enough, standing unattended in the street, that this young thief discovered that the tables could turn on him--and that he himself could be stolen!
This book is one of my favorites in the entire Valdemar series. I love any story that drags me into the point that I feel like I am living it, smelling the smells, seeing the sights. This book was that book for me.
Skif is a unique character in the Valdemar series, one of the few in which a character didn’t necessarily live a life of perfection prior to being Chosen. In Skif’s case, his less-than-savory life was one forced upon him through circumstance and necessity, rather than one he would have otherwise fallen into.
He lived a life of abject poverty and abuse, living most of his childhood in the slums of Haven. He finally escaped the abuse of his uncle, quickly falling into a gang of thieves. Thieves they may have been, but they were the closest thing he’d ever had to a family, and life with them was a vast improvement over the life he’d been forced to live with his uncle. Most of this book actually takes place before he meets his Companion, which is a different format than most of the books in the saga, and I actually really enjoyed that. It gives the reader a chance to really get to know the main character in a deeper way. I think this is a big part of why I loved this book so much!
As I said, much of this book takes place in the slums of the capital city, and that is a unique setting for a fantasy setting, in my experience. So much emphasis is put on the more developed aspects of a fantasy world, that we rarely see much of the other side of that. So that was an interesting perspective. It was a nice change from fantasy worlds that focus on the nobility, or those comparable to the nobility.